Of Course Tom Waits and Keith Richards Covered a Sea Shanty Together

January 8, 2013 | Andy Cush

This one is almost too meta: the poet laureate of nighthawks and renegades everywhere teams up with Captain Jack Sparrow’s father to record a cover of a 150-year old sea shanty. But it’s real! And it’s awesome. Frequent collaborators Tom Waits and Keith Richards recently recorded a stirring version of “Shenandoah,” a beautiful mid-19th-Century folk song. The best part: through the bombastic, weathered roar that is Waits’s singing voice, you can actually hear Keef’s beautifully nasally whine.

The track is the first taste of the comilation Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys, which drops next month and also features contributions from noted pirates Johnny Depp, Michael Stipe, Courtney Love, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, Michael Gira, and Iggy Pop.

Listen to “Shenandoah” at NPR.